Circus Owner Says Northern Ireland is Experiencing a Clown Shortage

This is no joke.

Published Oct 1, 2021

 (Vintage postcard pre WWI/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Vintage postcard pre WWI/Wikimedia Commons

Finding it impossible to juggle the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of jobs, clowns have left Northern Ireland in search of brighter opportunities, one circus owner in Northern Ireland lamented to the BBC in late September 2021.

According to David Duffy, co-owner of Duffy's Circus, the pandemic has resulted in a shortage of performers as many in the region returned to their home countries during the pandemic. He is now appealing for people of Northern Ireland to consider joining the art of clowning.

"Because all the circuses in Europe and in England have been up and operational for the past six months, that huge pool of EU artists are already back at work, and up until last week we haven't been able to even get visas issued for non-EU artists and entertainers. That's why we're trying to reach out for any of our folks at home who feel that they can give it a go,” Duffy said.

The BBC even interviewed a professional clown to learn more about what it takes to join the profession:

On Sept. 23, 2021, the circus even shared its numerous job postings, including for clowns:

Duffy added that COVID-19 really hit his circus, forcing it to shut down for 500 days, but it will soon start up again. He is calling for applicants who are “really adaptable” and able to think on their feet. As he recruits a new team, he is asking for applicants to perform a short piece through online auditions.

"When you go into the circus ring and you've got 700 to 800 people looking at you, no matter what sort of mood you're in, you have to light up that circus ring," he told the BBC.

"A clown actually can be the loneliest place because you're in there on your own and you have to be able to read your audience in a short couple of minutes, and you have to be able to get a rapport going with them and interact and feed off them." 


“Clown Shortage: Appeal for New Recruits in Northern Ireland.” BBC News, 29 Sept. 2021., Accessed on 1 Oct. 2021.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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